Plan. But don’t over-plan.

27 September 2019

“Plans are worthless, but planning is everything.” – Dwight D Eisenhower

I believe that it’s important to plan.

That should be obvious: after working in various roles, I’ve found my current calling as a financial planner.

But I also believe that it’s important not to over-plan.

One of the certainties in life is that there will be uncertainty. Unexpected things will happen.

Your circumstances will change.

Your needs will change.

Your goals will change.

(And if you don’t think your goals or values or priorities will change, read about the end of history illusion. Even as we age, these things can change profoundly.)

It’s easy to think that something that’s “unexpected” might be bad. But it might be good. Some people end up in better positions than they thought they would or what they had planned. But even then, you will need to reassess your situation and update your plan.

The key thing is that a plan should very rarely be fixed.

You need to treat a plan like it’s alive – as something that will evolve.

When it comes to planning, and determining goals, it’s often important to build in flexibility and optionality, and an appreciation for uncertainty and the future.

Think about possibilities. Things that can go wrong and things that can go right.

Think about the risks and worst-case scenarios, and what you can do to avoid, minimise, or mitigate against them.

Think about the opportunities and what you can do to take advantage of them. (Hunt black swans.)

Plan. Sometimes in writing. Most of the time in your head.

But don’t over-plan.

“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face” – Mike Tyson


black swans, over-planning, plan, planning, uncertainty

About the author 

Sonnie Bailey

In his spare time, Sonnie likes telling people that he’s a former Olympic power walker, a lion tamer, or that he is an orthodontist. He is none of those things. In reality, Sonnie is a financial planner based in Christchurch. Through his business, Fairhaven Wealth (www.fairhavenwealth.co.nz), he provides independent, advice-only, fixed-fee financial planning services. Sonnie is a “recovering lawyer”: he has specialised in trusts and personal client work. He has also worked as a financial services lawyer for many years.

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